Exercises for Spiritual Advancement

More than one person has pointed out that the TGU material can be a bit daunting. From time to time I intend to pull out particularly interesting or important material to let it be more easily found. This is from a session on October 9, 2001, in response to a question from someone who had been reading previous transcripts.

Exercises for Spiritual Advancement

Rita Warren: Well, here’s an easy one. A question from the same person.

F: We’d like to know what an easy question is. It’ll be interesting to see this.

R: [chuckles] What would you recommend as the five best exercises for spiritual advancement?

F: [pause] Not an easy one, but it’s an awfully good one.

Practice love every day. Find some object to love, whether it’s a pet or a flower or an abstraction or a car – it would be better if it were a person. As you practice this day by day, make the exercise a little more – Raise the bar. So that practice loving something that’s successively less lovable. Anyone can love a dog, because the dog thinks you’re wonderful. It takes a little more to love a cat, because the cat thinks it’s wonderful. It takes more to love a woodchuck, because a woodchuck doesn’t care one way or the other. It takes more to love a rattlesnake, because you’re afraid of it. So you could easily raise the bar a little bit every day. The practice of love is the practice of overcoming the illusion of distance.

That’s really one through five, but another exercise? [pause] Well, this won’t seem to have anything to do with the subject. Practice changing points of view. When you are in a dispute – or even if you are in a pleasant exchange with someone – try, every so often, changing into their point of view. Try to really see it as they see it, as opposed to the way you see it. All right? Swap back and forth. Now, that seems to have nothing to do with spiritual self-development, but you’ll be astonished. If you’re able to do it. Difficult exercise. [pause]

[chuckles] Do we have to come up with five? Those are two very good exercises!

R: We don’t, that’s true, just because he asked.

F: Let’s – give us a moment here. [pause] Well, of course, a third one is, practice mindfulness, by which we mean do everything remembering that you are doing everything . Don’t let your attention flow outward to the object without also being internally lit in your own being. So that when you’re looking at the watch, remember that you’re looking at the watch; don’t only look at the time. When you’re driving a car, remember that you’re driving a car, don’t just only drive the car. Again, this is the kind of exercise that can be scaled up as you get –

Although, it’s not predictable what will be easy and what will be difficult. It will be different for different people.

So those are three exercises, anyway. You notice what they have in common is the raising of a certain kind of consciousness. Because the giving of love is also an experience of love, it’s a becoming familiar with love, so it is a form of consciousness raising, as well.

We would leave it at that for now.

An excellent question.


3 thoughts on “Exercises for Spiritual Advancement

  1. Excellent guys.

    I have thought on this post for awhile now. Love is surely and simply the most important exercise. Seeing ‘self’ in ‘other’ and ‘other’ in ‘self’ is important too.

    Your second exercise on points of view is a gentle way to reach that and more.

    Mindful awareness is excellent as well.

    Somehow it seemed to me there were more that could fill out the requested five, but more than that, that are other key focuses on the journey.

    Reading a post by another friend in another group reminded me.

    A fourth – the illusions of distinction or separation:

    Along with these, another is to recognize through mindfulness and changing points of view the distinctions we make in our mind that serve to separate us from one another, from other living creatures, from the earth, from the stars, from our greater selves and so very much more.

    Practice finding these distinctions that separate and let them fade.

    Become the living things around you.

    Find what it is to be the tree, not just to feel it, but to actually be it. Then know that you are. Know that you always have been. For it is but another aspect.

    Find what it is to be squirrel arguing with crow. Find what it is to be crow arguing back. Know they are part of you. Know they -are- you. Know -you- are them.

    Find what it is to be rock; to be crystal; to be water or air.

    A fifth then – forgiveness:

    When these lessons are well worn and familiar enough that you think of all of these as being -you-, practice forgiveness.

    Most especially, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for all your perceived wrongs and errors, faults and foibles in all your manifest forms.

    A sixth – releasing fear:

    Realize that your fears, all of your fears are there to protect you. At one time, they served you. When you are feeling safe and the world around you is reasonably settled, take time to find your fears.

    Take them one at a time. Hold them gently in your mind and think back to when they began. Think back to why they began.

    Allow any judgement about the events, the why’s, the blame to fade. Set those aside for now.

    Find the origin of the fear. See it for what it was. See it for why it was. See yourself then, a younger less experienced self doing the very best you knew how.

    See that the you now would respond differently and without fear to that event. Realize that this fear that served to protect you is no longer needed.

    Give thanks to yourself and the fear for having worked so hard to protect you all these years See that now it is unimportant.

    Forgive yourself if forgiveness is needed. Allow it to fade. Let it go.

    There are more. I found these to be good starting points.


  2. Dirk, Frank,all

    Just found these and by golly I must have spent the last 20 years working on basically these 3 areas…unconditional love for humans is the most challenging…and remains a practice I use best when there is some distance from the person I feel less than loving toward. However, of late I have been trying to remember even when in the heat of an unpleasant or very challening conflict to send love energy or at the very least white light.

    I find I all too often forget and in spite of my work last week when my family member verbally barraged me with unpleasantries and I had promised myself to stay aware, and remain calm etc. but after she shouted loudly, I lost it! I find family the most challenging, but the effort is worth the work. My life is a lot better since I don’t allow people to determine my joy and keep loving even if love is unreturned.

    Joining the others point of view is an odd but useful exploration for me…since in the past I had trouble with over fusion…too much empathy. I have tried to use this with those I did not have much empathy with like George Bush or the ruling class. This is still rather difficult.

    However, I agree the more mindful and clear the less I am pulled willy nilly by outer circumstance. thanks all

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